Haven

Seriously people, initially this chapter was over 14 k words, and then I was like no. I need a limit! So I split it into chapter 15 and 16 where I saw fit. So please don't be disappointed that it's not m-rated as yet in this chapter. Oh, but it is ;) … in the next chapter (that's already written and waiting) I'll post it next week.

I just figured I need a limit. Otherwise next thing you know I'll be writing 20 k and my life will be over. God, I just think too much.

This one is for all my readers and reviewers that keep coming back. Love hearing from you guys.

Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, see the other 14 disclaimers


Chapter 15

Nervous fingers tapped loudly on the steering wheel as Jade patiently waited in the car. She couldn't believe how fast the week had flown and now she was sitting in Robbie's black SUV ready to head up to Fairview with a 'friend'. Well, that is what she had told Cat. She just reframed from mentioning that the friend was Tori (her secret –well, whatever they were). But otherwise her aunt gave her the go ahead. They would only be back from the Big Apple late tomorrow night, anyway.

Her eyes drifted to the digital clock encased in the dashboard. It was slightly after 10am so they should probably arrive at their destination after 2pm. It was only a three hour drive but she had one or two detours she wanted to share with the brunette, knowing she would appreciate it. The festival only started to happen around after 3pm, anyhow. Jade picked her head up when she heard Tori's front door click open. As if customary, her breathing stopped in anticipation for the figure to step into view.

Then, there Tori was, her open hair swaying with the early spring wind, still chatting casually away with someone inside her house. She was dressed in a pair of blue jeans, a white thin strap top that sat nicely against her cleavage and the comfortable pair of boots the Goth warned her on due to the dust in that area. The brunette slipped on her light denim jacket then turned, those chocolate eyes capturing Jade immediately.

The Goth felt her lips go dry and her heart start to pound at the incredible sight. A sight that unraveled her each time. She gently lifted her hand in response to the wave and earnest smile she received.

Tori's hand fell as she checked the contents of her handbag, anxiously making a U-turn into the house. "Andre, did I take everything?"

A half exasperated man appeared from the kitchen, sighing heavily for the fourth time that morning. "For the hundredth time, yes! You are not moving to Peru, for God sakes." He held up his fingers and flicked them down as he went through the list. "Purse, house keys, girlie unmentionables, vibrators, strap-ons, handcuffs, condoms and your sunglasses." When her eyes narrowed dangerously, he just sighed again and held up a hand. "Okay, I was just kidding. I didn't put any condoms in. But only because I don't think you'd need them anyway."

She rolled her eyes, eyeing out her bag suspiciously. She knew he didn't put the sexual selection of his list in. But it was Andre dammit. Biting her lip, she took the bait and quickly raided through it, listening to his annoying chuckle. She threw him an irritated glance. "You're a pain in the ass, you know that."

"That's what she said." He winked and laughed at the brief wave of disgust that passed through the brunette's face. "Okay, okay, get out of here, you." He began a shooing motion to the door. "And don't come back home a virgin." He said nonchalantly, getting a hard smack to his belly. "Hey!" He jumped and scowled. "What? It worked years ago, the first time I said it."

"Yeah, but then I was actually a virgin." Tori reminded him, wryly.

Andre gave her a placating look, patting her arm. "Tori honey, you take born again virgin to a whole new level. I'm not so sure it's different this time."

"Ha ha, you are hilarious…"

He sighed gravely, shaking his head. "I wish I was, but if I didn't have sex in nearly t –"

Tori's hand covered his mouth swiftly. "Don't say it! It's depressing enough."

He grinned, when she dropped her hand. "Fine, enjoy your trip. Smurf and I will do what we do best. Pretend the other doesn't exist."

"Yeah, he really doesn't like you." She shrugged.

"I can never understand why. I'm so lovable."

"Of course you are…" It was her turn to smile wickedly and pat his cheek. She raised her handbag onto her shoulder and headed towards the SUV.

"Hey, I am!" Andre insisted with a puffed chest.

"Uh-huh…" She giggled a little and waved knowing he would be tweaked. Serves him right for picking on her non-existent sex life. That was then. Now… Now, that's all she pitifully thought about. Tori's eyes met Jade's as she made the final few strides to the car.

Opening the front passenger door, the brunette hopped in with a coy smile. "Hey you." Tori greeted, yanking her seatbelt into place.

Jade was lost in that enchanting smile, Tori's simple words barely registering. The Goth cringed, realizing the brunette said something.

"Oh, um hey…" She murmured softly, unable to draw her gaze away. At the look Tori was giving her, Jade felt the confines of the car getting smaller. Her lips tingling with the urge to kiss that brunette. All she had to do was lean in and take. Instead, reminded by were they were, she nodded towards the dark seething man on Tori's porch. "What's got his underwear in a twist?"

Tori blinked twice at the non-squitter, adjusting her attention to Andre. "Oh him." She giggled. "I just made him second guess his lovable-ness."

Jade let out an amused chuckle, starting the ignition. "Rough," she said as they pulled off from the curb.

"Serves him right." Tori snickered, tucking a stray piece of brunette hair behind her ear. "He was picking on my se–" Wide-eyed, Tori held her tongue, looking over at the raven haired woman.

Jade felt an incredulous grin take over her lips, facing Tori swiftly before her eyes were back on the road. "You so have to finish that sentence."

Tori felt her body sink more into the leather seat, lowered her eyes bashfully and then looked up again, feeling the blush spread through her cheeks. "Do I have to?"

The Goth nodded vigorously. "Hell yes!"

"Fine…" Tori mumbled with a pout as they stopped at the red light. Jade slanted her an amused smile, unrelenting. "He was picking on my sex life…" She said with an obvious strain on the word sex.

Jade couldn't acquire any form of restraint and burst out laughing. "I swear you just turned fifty shades of red when you said sex."

"No, I didn't." Tori disputed futilely, trying to contain her enflamed cheeks.

"Then say it again."

"No." The brunette scowled as the Goth continued to laugh. "It's not that funny."

Finally, Jade relented, the charmed grin still plastered on her face. "It's adorable and amusing…" She stated looking straight ahead as the light changed again.

"How is that different from being funny?"

"Got me there…" The Goth shrugged, smirking.

Tori rolled her eyes. "Well, you try saying it with a straight face."

"Sex…" Jade shot her an impressively stoic expression. Then a slow, sly smile formed on her lips. "Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex…" She chanted, almost as if it was a song.

Tori giggled, swatting Jade on the arm. "I get it! I get it!"

"Jeez, you're still turning red!" The Goth said in a chuckle.

"Shut up…" Tori stuck a tongue out before she also erupted in laughter. They both continued to laugh as they passed the 'You are now exiting Rosewood' sign…

… … … … … … … … … … … … …

Jade leaned back on the blanket, her weight was supported on her elbows and her legs crossed at the ankles in front of her. Aviators covering those blue eyes, she raised her chin so that she was looking up into the oak tree that spilled odd sunlight through the smallest of crevices. Branches dancing to the gentle breeze. Closing her eyes, she listened to the serene melody spring time usually summoned while she waited for the brunette to return from the bathroom. They had made a half-way stop for a break at one of the picnic parks along the way. She had packed a blanket, a couple of breakfast burritos, a few sodas and some coffee in a basket for such an occasion. She was just happy the weather was permitting enough to whip them out.

A few other unfamiliar families and couples, probably from neighboring towns, also had the same idea. They were scattered in drips and drabs around the front of the restroom area. Wanting some privacy, Jade had maneuvered them around the back onto a small hillside flagged with a tall oak tree. They were pretty secluded.

Experiencing an unexplainable sensation stir in the air, Jade's eyes cracked open. She lowered her potent gaze until she had a perfect view of the brunette on the bottom of the hill.

Tori stepped out of the restroom, wiping the remnant moisture of her hands on her jeans. Her eyes casually journeyed up the contours of the land to be met with one of the most breathtaking sights. There was Jade, spread out insouciantly on their blanket simply enjoying the outdoors and fresh air. But at that moment Tori wasn't so sure. It was as if they were enjoying her. But this was Jade she was talking about, could she really blame them. So this is what the high school senior was like when they didn't have the stresses of keeping their relationship a secret. It was nice, she decided. More than nice. She was definitely going to milk this day for all it was worth.

Climbing towards her date, her appreciative gazes never falter. Jade was wearing a three quarter sleeved blue button up shirt that brought out the sapphire gems of her eyes. Tori was almost sorry they were covered up at the moment. She wore fitting black jeans that reached her boots at the appropriate length. Today, her black hoody was traded in for a worn-in black leather jacket that she had folded in half and was left on the corner of the blanket. Jade never fussed about her clothes. Not that she needed to with her exquisite beauty. She just seemed to go with whatever worked for her. And black completely worked in her case. All in all, the complete package was so Jade.

"Find the restroom, okay?"

"Yep, there was a sign and everything…" Tori smirked and plopped down near the raven haired woman's shoes, facing her.

"I'm glad… Wouldn't want you to get lost." Jade raised her aviators to the top of her forehead so that she was looking directly into twinkling brown eyes.

"Yeah, what would you do on our date without me?"

Jade felt a little tingle in the bottom of her stomach at the word date. She knew it was silly and proved her to be the silly teenager she was but… But it felt like Christmas morning when she was a kid. "Well, whatever I do, I doubt it would be nearly as entertaining as having you with me." She said honestly.

Tori's smile softened. She nudged Jade's boot. "Sweet-talker."

The Goth rolled her eyes. "There you go again, throwing words around that have nothing to do with me."

Tori giggled, her eyes teasing. "When are you going to get it through your head? I think you're cute and adorable." She loved this game between them.

Jade groaned dramatically, flopping her head on the blanket and covering her eyes with her hands. "God, kill me now."

Tori lay down on the left of Jade, shoulder to shoulder, her eyes facing the tree above them. "I don't know, I kind of like you alive," she murmured.

Jade dropped her hands and cracked an eye open. "Why so you can torture me?"

The brunette shrugged, turning her head so they were face to face. "Pretty much."

"And you say I'm evil." Jade muttered, both blue eyes open deeply searching the Tori's so close to her own.

"You just do evil better." Tori countered in a hot whisper.

"Clearly."

Jade smirked when Tori stuck out a taunting tongue at her. Then Tori's tilted her gaze down the line where their hands met. Jade followed it, realizing she was unconsciously grazing the back of Tori's hand with the tip of her fingers. The motion stopped suddenly. She dragged her vision back up level with Tori's eyes that were now blazing. She sucked in a breath as she watched the brunette's lips part slightly. Her own lips only inches away. Inches too far for her liking. She leaned in a little –then hesitated. She wasn't quite sure what their rules were.

Curiously, Tori watched Jade's soft lips stop mere breaths away from hers. As if reading those blue eyes burning with pained desire, her left hand reached over to caress the Goth's flushed cheeks. She knew she was taking a deep risk. But today was a day she didn't want tainted with consequences or the past. "Pretend I'm just Tori… Pretend you're just Jade…" Tori whispered lightly. "Pretend no one else exists…"

At the reassuring words, Jade's eyes fell closed. Tori's lips were soft on hers, just a whisper of contact. A gentle brush, tug and a nip. Jade felt fingers thread through the luscious locks of her raven hair tugging her closer, deepening the kiss…

A few minutes later, they were cuddled together with Tori's head on Jade's shoulder, her hand stroking up and down the Goth's arm, relishing in the contact.

"You didn't tell me what the festival is about…" Tori murmured.

It took a few second for Jade to realize that Tori was speaking to her. She was much in her happy place right now. "What?"

"I said you didn't tell me what the festival is about."

"Oh." Jade hummed, thinking about how to explain it. "Well, it's split into two parts. The first part is sort of an amusement park."

"An amusement park? Like with all those rides and junk food designed to make you throw up?"

"Do you know any other kind?" Jade asked, amused at the unmistakable excitement that leaked through the brunette's tone.

"No…" There was a brief pause. "I just haven't been to one before."

Jade jolted at the brunette's quiet response, leaning back so she could peer down at her. "You're kidding me, right?" The brunette glanced up and shook her head. "Seriously? But LA has tons of amusement parks."

"Yes well, our parents didn't really care what we did as long as we did it in the manor… I think I asked them to go to one once when I was ten but they shot me down, saying something about embarrassing them in public. Since then I didn't bother."

"Your parents suck." Jade said after a quiet moment.

Tori's lips curved. "Yep."

Jade considered the sad smile that played on the brunette's lips. She pressed a small kiss against Tori's forehead. "Well, I'm glad I'm the one who gets to show you what you're missing."

Tori smiled, touched at the gesture. But also because she had dropped the depressing topic of her parents. "Me too… What's the other part?"

"Well, for people like you and me, the second part is the best part."

"Really?"

"Oh yeah."

Tori waited a few beats, before her brows winged up. "Well… Are you going to tell me what it is?"

"I was thinking about it." The Goth shrugged.

"Jade…"

"Vega?"

"Tell me." Tori poked Jade in the ribs causing her to jolt.

"Ow, that hurt." Jade playfully frowned.

"Jade, seriously, tell me!" Tori let out exasperated and continued her prodding.

"Okay, okay." The raven haired woman chuckled warding off the brunette's wriggling fingers. "It's a preliminary band exhibition."

"Preliminary band exhibition?" Tori repeated in a frown, her ministrations stopping. Her eyes softened in realization. "Oh, oh, like a concert that shows off new talent?"

Jade grinned. "Well, concert is a bit extravagant of a term. But the concept is spot on. You see this is a testing ground for pre- signed bands and some solo acts, I suppose. Just to see what reaction they draw from the crowd. We are the small destinations before they are given more prominent gigs. It happens about every three years or so."

"Oh…" Tori conceded, her brown eyes deep and thoughtful. "Is it weird that I didn't know about this considering my music relations? Because honestly, I've never heard about this before."

"Didn't think you would. It only really happens around small towns to see if their baby signings are worth some real air time. They are usually the reject pile."

Tori giggled at that. "So the best part is listening to bad bands and singers?"

"No, Miss Smarty-pants." Jade rolled her eyes. "They are not all bad, some are okay. And then you get the shiners. Trust me, it is worth it when you sift through that pile and catch the one that you know will make a great difference in the music industry..."

"I think I can understand." Tori's smile was slow and rewarding.

"You'll enjoy it too." Jade returned the smile. "They should be down for the Rosewood festival in two weeks."

Tori jolted. "There's a Rosewood festival?"

"Of course, I told you this thing travels around the small towns."

The brunette cocked a brow. "Then why –"

"Fairview? For obvious reasons." Jade held her gaze. "I wanted to go with you… And I understand that we can't do it down there right now. But… but it doesn't make me want it any less. Does that make any sense?"

Tori's eyes softened and she nodded slowly. "Perfect sense."

"Plus, since we will be expecting the same festival down in Rosewood, we won't find any of them here." Jade smirked, absently tucking a strand of brunette hair behind Tori's ear.

Tori smiled at the Goth's fleeting touch. Sometimes she really wondered which of them the younger, less experienced one was. Jade made it really hard for her to keep up with their roles. She was beautiful, incredibly smart and with a maturity level that surprised you at times. It left you in awe and sometimes a little sad that she grew up faster than she had to. But Tori could relate. She also had her fair share of growing up when her brother died. "You thought this through…"

"I wanted time with you that wouldn't get us in trouble."

Tori had to laugh at Jade's sheepish smile. "How much more troubled situations do you actually think we can get into?" At the challenging arch of Jade's brow, she held up a hand releasing a half chuckle. "Fine, fine, don't answer that. We really are bad."

Jade shook her head. "We're not bad people, Tori. Just people caught in a bad situation."

Tori's breath froze at the base of her throat as her brother's words echoed back at her in the form of Jade's low voice. As she looked into deep thoughtful blue eyes, it finally clicked into place. She finally understood his need to be where he was. Her need to be where she was right now. Slowly and deliberately she captured Jade's lips in a kiss that left them both breathless before they pulled back. She lowered her forehead to the clammy skin of Jade's neck.

Jade wrapped her arms around the brunette. "Ready to get back on the road?" She asked in a pant.

"Not really…" Tori smiled, enjoying the mixed scent of the outdoors and soap. "I like it here."

"Me too…" Jade's smile widened as she rolled her tongue in her cheek. "But you know there's an amusement park calling your name…" She almost purred.

Dead silence.

"C'mon, what are you waiting for!" Tori exclaimed hauling a laughing Goth onto her feet.

… … … … … … … … … … … … …

To say Tori held any giddy excitement was an understatement of note. Upon arriving, her nose was glued to the car window staring out in awe at the monstrous metal contraptions that consisted of many shapes and colors. As soon as the car stopped she jumped out grabbing the Goth's hand and squirming among the locals to get a closer look.

She had seen some before on television or driving by. But walking among them they were almost intimidating by their great heights, sounds and motion. The enthusiastic screams made her overlook that. As well as the colorful blinking lights that was there to draw you –to hypnotize you. She had only been here a few minutes and she was completely under its spell.

Then there were many stalls advertising all sorts of food –well Tori was pretty sure the more accurate term for them were artery-cloggers. Even so, she was utterly intrigued.

The people. You could definitely tell this was a small town with the way most of the friendly people horded in clumps laughing or gossiping about Becky Crawford's pregnancy. She had no clue who Becky was but by the end of the day she was pretty sure she have a clear image, the way gossip soared around. In the minutes she was here she was able to gather that the baby's daddy was a toss-up between Jack and his brother Jesse Claremont. Whoever they were…

"Well, are we just going stand here staring at everything?"

Tori's head snapped back to meet an amused raven haired woman. "There's just so much to choose from. Where does anyone ever start? Where do you usually start?"

Jade smiled, tugging the brunette closer by their joined hands. "Well, I can take you on a play by play of what order I go by. Would you like that?" She asked Tori who was staring at their linked fingers.

"Yes." Tori nodded blankly.

"Does this bother you?" Jade slowly lowered her gaze to their hands.

Tori just stared down at their interlaced fingers, feeling the softness of Jade's palm against hers. It fit perfectly she thought with awe. Her stare ended up on the Goth and she knew she felt it too. "No…" She shook her head. Far from it. "I just realized this was the first time we actually did this."

Jade gave a quick grin. "We do tend to do things a little backwards, huh?"

"Story of us…" Tori let out in a half laugh squeezing the Goth's hand in hers.

"C'mon, corndogs usually go first." Jade winked as they started their progressive raid through the amusement park.

… … … … … … … … … … … … …

Darkness crept through the sky leaving a soft red hovering above. The burnt, golden sun disappeared until its final arc in the horizon. Soon that would vanish completely too. It looked like it leaked out of a priceless painting. The only thing that could have made it more spectacular was observing it from the top of a Ferris wheel. Tori was completely absorbed in it, she didn't even feel the slight chill in the air.

"It's incredible, isn't it?"

It was spoken so softly, Tori almost thought she was dreaming. She lowered her chin until the glow of blue eyes held her. "I've never seen anything like it. Except maybe in Paris from the Eifel Tower. They're different though." She considered the vacation she spent in Europe with her family at a tender age of fifteen. It was a terrible affair filled with countless of formal parties with her father's associates. The only reason she and her sister were even there was because the man her father was trying to impress was big on family. The whole trip was built on a fallacy except for the quiet moments she had exploring in Paris. "Paris felt more elegant, more of a sophisticated allure. This…" She smiled serenely. "This feels more free, more exhilarating."

"It's American." Jade shrugged as if that was explanation enough, enjoying the way the colors danced in Tori's eyes.

"True…" Tori grinned, shifting more into the Goth as they started moving again. "You chose this ride last on purpose."

"Maybe…" Jade smirked, closing her eyes and stretching her arms across Tori's shoulders in a calculated move. "It hardly ever disappoints when you want to score points with someone?"

"Oh, so you're trying to score points with me?" Tori sounded amused.

"Yep." The Goth cracked an eye open. "How am I doing?"

"Hmmm… ten."

Jade jerked, both eyes open. "Only?"

"Isn't it enough?" Tori had to swallow a chuckle at Jade's piteous frown. "Okay, fine twelve."

The Goth clutched her shirt over her chest. "Jeez Vega, you slay me."

"I don't know what you're complaining about." Tori rolled her eyes mockingly. "The scale is only out of ten."

"Oh… Oh." Jade pursed her lips, pretended to think about it. "Okay, I feel better." They both started laughing.

Once they jumped off the ride, night had completely consumed the dusty air. Together, at ease, they made their way to the massive and congested white tent that had a small wooden stage near the end. People either had a beer cup in their hand or were swaying to the sounds emitted from the band currently on stage. Mostly both.

Entering the tent that had the volume at a blistering level, Tori's mouth fixed in a pained grimace.

Jade had to laugh at that expression. She leaned over close to Tori's ear. "Don't worry, it gets better." She yelled.

"Thank God!" Tori shout over what she assumed was rock music. That's if you could call the noise music. She read the band name that was on a banner hung above stage. The Cracking Skulls . No kidding, her skull felt like it was being cracked. "How are people dancing to this?"

"They're drunk. They don't know any better." Jade shrugged her shoulders.

"Right…"

"Want a beer? It's cold, not that good though. But it's a hell of a lot better than the music right now." Jade asked jerking a thumb towards the bar setup in the corner.

"Yeah okay…" Tori nodded. Anything would be a better option right now.

They slinked through the crowd until they reached the beer stained wooden counter near the back. The bartender reached them in no time at all. He gave the two pretty women a quick grin.

"Can I get you ladies a couple of beers?"

"Just one for her." Jade answered putting a bill on the counter.

"Oki doke." The man nodded, swiftly holding a cup under the tap. He held out the beer.

"Thanks." Tori smiled taking hold of the cup.

But he continued to hang on, flashing her a winning smile. "Will that be all ma'am?"

Jade raised her brow at his obvious flirting ways. "What else do you have to offer? You only serve beer." She pointed out dryly trying to conceal her irritation.

"Well, I reckon I can think of something to the lady's preference." He winked at Tori who was feeling really uncomfortable at the moment.

"Will, stop flirting with that pretty girl and get back to work. Can't you see she's taken?" A rough voice roared from behind them.

"Taken?" Will arched a brow at his boss who ambled his way towards them. He looked curiously at Tori and then Jade. He snapped his hand away when realization dawned. "Oh." His grin dropped to a nervous smile. "Yeah, got me some customers piling up on that end."

His boss had to chuckle at the swift escape Will made to the other end. "Sorry about that. He didn't know she was yours." The middle aged man said as he leaned against the counter next to them.

Jade studied him with a placid glance. He was well structured beneath the leather waist coat and worn out jeans with a body that looked like it should belong to a thirty year old. Though his true age could be made out by the weathered crinkles in his face and the baldness concealed by his pale cowboy hat. "What makes you think she's mine?" The Goth countered, coolly.

He only gave her a devilish smirk. "What you think I can't look into your eyes and tell?"

"You were always very perceptive."

"Why you think I'm here? It's my opinion the record companies really gives a damn about." He scoffed.

"Good to know."

"Get over here kid!" Jade grinned and stepped into the bear hug which lifted her four inches off the floor. She chuckled when he jerked her back just to look at her. "My God, you look like your mama. Got your da's eyes and height though." His grin slipped a little when her smile turned a little sad. He placed two fingers under her chin and raised it until their eyes met. "I heard about what happened. I'm sorry, I would have been at the funeral but I was in Europe when I heard. They were good people, your mama and your da."

"I know…" She smiled weakly.

"Well, are you going to introduce me to this pretty thing or what?" His grin was full blown again, nodding his head towards Tori.

Jade had to smile at the charming way he wriggled his brows. "Harvey, I'd like you to meet Tori Vega. Tori, this here is Harvey McLean. He was a friend of my mom's and is the festival's chief coordinator."

"It's nice to meet you Mr. McLean." Tori smiled politely holding out a hand.

"Pleasure, Ms. Vega." He flashed her his most charming grin accepting the hand. But instead of shaking it, he brought it to her lips. "But I do prefer it if you call me Harvey."

Tori had to giggle at his smooth move. He released her. "Only if you call me Tori."

"Tori." He winked, considering her. "I know this may sound a tad odd but have we met before?"

Jade had to roll her eyes at that line. "Say that to all the girls, Harvey?"

He chuckled loud and boisterous. "Only the ones I think I have a chance to slip right under your nose, kid." He nicked Jade's nose.

"Fat chance, old man," Jade snorted. Tori had to smile at the relaxed way they teased each other. You could see they went way back.

"Don' I know't. I may be an irresistible God to women everywhere." He said with a shit eating grin, making both women laugh. "But I do know when to cut my losses. I know love when I see it." He winked, amused at the fiery tint of red that coated both of their cheeks. Well, well, well… They hadn't told each other, he thought slyly. He turned his attention back to the brunette. "But I'm serious, have we met? You look very familiar and I never forget a pretty face."

Tori bit her lip slightly. "We could have, in LA maybe. I used to live there."

"Yes, maybe…" He nodded and let it go for now. "So what do you think of our bands?"

Tori had forgotten all about the music. A new one had come on. They were a bit softer and the music was a lot more bearable. The banner read; Blue Lions. They were all dressed in blue jumpsuits and had long blue hair that could resemble a mane if she thought about it and squinted.

Tori arched a brow. "This one is not bad. A bit scary though. The Cracking Skulls were absolute crap."

"This one here is a keeper." Harvey laughed, smacking Jade on the arm in friendly gesture. "We have about three or four later on that maybe worth any trouble otherwise the rest are crap as you put it." He told Tori. "They will pass anything for music now days. Not like it used to be." He slung an arm over the raven haired woman's shoulder, giving it a little squeeze. "Like when you had this one and her mama hitting the stage."

"That was only once, three years ago in Rosewood." Jade reminded him softly, memories of that night swarming her mind. Her mother's glorious smile, the crowd in an uproar as her voice hypnotized them. Standing there, side by side, shoulder to shoulder. Her father, Cat and Robbie cheering on the magic they created together.

"Best duet performance in all the towns." Harvey declared, his tone filled with a strong emotion.

Tori's smile was warm. "You performed with your mother?"

Jade shrugged. "It was for fun."

"Which is a damn shame if you ask me. Should've gone pro, your mama. She was hundred times better than these low-lives. And as I recall so were you." He raised a brow. "Gonna perform tonight?"

The Goth felt her stomach jump at the thought. "Oh no, not tonight, Harvey."

"And why not? I'm absolutely sure you can show these vermin, what real singing is."

"No…" She shook her head vigorously. "No, I can't."

Sensing the panic and apprehension from the girl, he let out a resigning sigh. "Oh alright, kid. But if you change your mind, you know where I'll be." He jerked a thumb towards the sound station tucked in the corner. "T'was nice meeting you, Miss. Tori." He tipped his hat up.

Tori smiled a little but it was laced with concern. "You too."

He began to turn, but halted. "Oh and Jade, I know this is an unfair thing to say but I think you know your mama would have wanted you on that stage... Even if it was just to have a little fun."

Jade could only stare at his retreating back. She flinched at the touch on her arm. When she saw it was Tori, she relaxed marginally.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm good." Jade nodded slowly, her wistful gaze drifting up to the stage where a new band just got set up. She needed to clear her head. "I think I'm just going to use the restroom. You can hang back here, finish your beer and listen to these guys."

Sensing Jade's need to be alone right now, Tori smiled stroking the Goth's arms. "Sure, they're actually pretty good." Surprisingly, she meant it. The languid beat was kind of catchy.

Jade smiled softly. "Okay, I'll just be a few minutes."

Tori leaned back against the bar counter watching her slip through the exit. She brought the beer to her lips, her foot tapping. Jade was right, she thought, the music was starting out to be a little pleasant. Or maybe that was the beer getting to her head. Either way, she was starting to enjoy it.

It sort of reminded her of the open night they had every Friday at the campus bar during her college days. Most of those Fridays, she was up on stage herself. The freedom of music racing through her pulse, the lightness and wholesomeness it brought her was something she thought she would never trade for anything. But sometimes life caught up with you no matter how much you tried to escape.

She downed the last bit of her beer, crunching the cup in her hand. Spotting a trash can on the other end, she maneuvered her way to it. Tossing her cup into the overflowing can, she turned and bumped forcefully into what felt like a brick wall. She held her head trying to steady it as a voice screeched in her ears.

"God, watch where you're going hillbilly!"

"I'm so sor –" Tori's breath lodged in her throat as shock spread through her face. "Ke –Kelly?" She stammered, staring blankly at her ex-girlfriend.

"Tori? What the hell are you doing here?" Kelly was just as astonished.

Her dark blonde hair was longer than Tori remembered. Her face and green eyes also seemed a bit harder, she noticed. She was dressed in a denim skirt that rode high on her thighs and a simple white cotton shirt that was adorned with a denim waistcoat. To complete the outfit were long leather boots and a cowboy hat. The brunette had to take a double take considering the woman she once dated wouldn't have been caught dead in this type of ensemble.

"I, I came for the festival." Tori answered slowly, the initial shock still lingering.

Kelly blinked at her a few times before she roared out a laugh. "That's rich. Just rich. What on earth would you come for a low class festival for?" She rolled her eyes. "Seriously, I told you in the emails I'd meet you up in LA. How the hell did you find me? I never tell you where I was."

Tori shook her head, bemused. "I wasn't looking for you, Kelly."

"Nonsense." Kelly waved her off, grinning smugly. "I know this behavior of yours. The one that used to follow me like a pitiful pup after her own tail. I'll admit in college, I used to find it a bit annoying and stalkerish. But I guess the extra effort you put in was just who you were. I got used to it." She shrugged.

The brunette swallowed the sudden rise of bile in her throat. The blonde's comment throwing her into her college days. She didn't consider occasionally meeting for your girlfriend outside their lecture rooms stalking. Kelly always knew how to belittle her and then she would go to her room and find some flowers and an apology note. She would come to Tori's room and be all sweet and caring until the brunette was forced to forgive her. That was their cycle until Kelly had left her for good one day. But that was in the past. She was not the weak person Kelly perceived her to be. Not anymore.

"I didn't come looking for you, Kelly. I never even read your emails," Tori said evenly.

The blonde sized her up with drawn brows. "You expect me to believe you're here for this dumb festival –by yourself." She shook her head and scoffed. "I don't believe you."

"I don't care what you believe." Tori countered, starting to get riled up.

Kelly's eyes widened for a moment. This was the first time Tori had ever spoken to her this way. Then they flashed red.

"Hey Kel, boss says he wants you to check on the next band." A bulky woman said in a deep voice as she walked up to them. She wore the exact same type of outfit as Kelly.

"In a minute, Pat," the blonde replied through gritted teeth.

Boss, Tori thought, puzzled. Her own eyes grew dramatically when it hit her. That would explain why Kelly was here. The woman she once knew hated places congested with people that she considered beneath her and the stale stench of beer. She works here.

Pat raised a thick brow staring at the two women. "Is there a problem here? Who's she?"

"This is Tori." Kelly answered, the daggers in her eyes quite heady.

"Tori?" Pat tasted the name on her lips briefly. Her eyes popped wider. "This is Tori? That princess from LA? What's she doing here?"

"She says she's here for the festival."

"Here all by herself? Is that so?" The big woman let out a deep chuckle. "You know, I never believe you when you told me how clingy she was. I think she's here looking for you like you said she would when she read your emails."

Tori started to feel awkward and apprehensive with them talking about her like she wasn't standing right there. "No, actually –" She tried to get in a word but was interrupted.

"Hey Kel, it must be. What else would a LA princess be doing down here?" Pat scanned the brunette from head to toe, while Kelly smirked at her fiend's logic. "Kind of pathetic if you ask me. I don't know why you'd want her back."

Outnumbered and intimidated, Tori considered cowering away when she was whipped around. Before she could even comprehend what was happening, a hot mouth was crushed down on hers in a ravishing kiss. It reached deeper, probing her, devouring all her senses until she couldn't remember where she was –who she was. It ended with their foreheads pressed together. Her eyes blinked open to be met with tiny specs of green swimming in piercing blue eyes. She could feel those full lips curl before she saw it.

"Hey baby, sorry I took so long. The line to the restroom was a killer. Must be all this beer." Jade kissed her softly again.

"S'okay," Tori mumbled against her lips, still not sure what was happening, her arms creeping around the Goth's neck on their own accord.

As Jade pulled back, her gaze were on the other two woman who were staring at them openly. The bigger one was gaping whereas the other bitchy one's –she decided –mouth was fixed in a hard scowl. She still kept her arms wrapped loosely around the brunette. She raised a brow in their direction. "Friends of yours?"

Tori adjusted so that her back was pressed against Jade's front and realized she had completely forgotten about them in that moment. "Well, I'm not really sure who she is." She gestured to Pat before she faced Kelly. "But this is –"

"Kelly Burton and you are?" The simmering blonde answered sharply, with a raised brow of her own. She studied the taller raven haired woman intently. She was absolutely stunning with enthralling ocean eyes seemed to draw you in. Probably someone from Hollywood was her first guess.

"Jade West." The Goth response was somewhat perky.

"I've never heard of you."

"Why would you?" Jade smiled slowly. She knew these type of women, who had an air of superiority to them. They were very uncommon and she knew how to cut them down to size if need be. "It's not like I've heard of you." She retorted.

Kelly felt a wave of anger but she contained it. "Oh, so Tori didn't tell you?" She tried a different angle.

"Tell me what?"

"We were involved for two years." She said all too smugly.

"No kidding? I wouldn't have guessed. She has never ever mentioned you." Her gaze fell to Tori. "I didn't think you dated anyone down here."

"I didn't, we met in college." Tori told her. "Then she got a job at Singer Enterprises."

"Singer Enterprises?" Jade's eyes grew huge, clearly impressed. "World renowned record company, Singer Enterprises?" She couldn't help the incredulous laughter that bubbled out of her. "Holey shit! Who did you piss off to become one of Harvey's lackeys?"

Fury flashed in Kelly's eyes and she launched forward at Tori. "Your father fucking set me up!"

Jade intercepted right in time for Kelly's smaller form to bump into her instead. Then shot a hard look down at the blonde, pretenses were over. "Look I'm done being nice." She flicked a dangerous glance at Pat that was a warning. When she was comfortable enough that Kelly's big friend wouldn't start throwing any punches she returned her stoic gaze to the blonde. "I don't know you. And I know I don't like you. So we are just going to end our conversation right here." Her voice was low and hard.

"Like hell we are!"

"Kelly! Didn't I tell you to go check on the next band?" Harvey shouted as he rounded the sound station.

"In a minute, Harvey!" She yelled back, all eyes were on him.

"No, now if you still want this job! They are about to go up in a minute."

"C'mon Kel, let's go." Pat urged her away, feeling nervous enough with the Goth. She didn't need to lose her job as well.

"Fine! God! This is not over Tori." Kelly sniped, dragging herself away.

Harvey walked up to them, shaking his head, a beer in his hand. "Sorry about that, she's new. Bitches twenty-four hours a day. But she knows her stuff." His eyes grew with concern as he turned it on the brunette. "Is she okay?"

Jade turned to Tori who she had tucked behind her. "Tori, are you okay?"

Tori snapped out of it and nodded. "Yeah, yeah I'm fine." She smiled though it didn't fully reach her eyes. What did she mean her father set her up?

Jade squeezed her shoulders. "She just used to –know her."

"Oh, I'm so sorry." He said it so mournfully, Tori couldn't help but let out a shaky laugh.

Jade was glad to see some color come back to the brunette's face. "So what's her story? Apparently, she used to work up in Singer Enterprises? How'd she end up working for you?" She asked, knowing if there was anything to know, Harvey Mclean would know it.

"Blacklisted her good for embezzlement, that one." Harvey took a deep slug of his beer.

"Embezzlement?" Tori's voice wavered. "She embezzled money from them?" Kelly was a bitch, she knew that. But a thief?

"Yep, that's right." He nodded. "She paid back the full amount and then some, to avoid a jail sentence and dragging Singer through the presses, of course. But no company will even look at her now."

Tori stomach lurched as she watched the blonde order a bunch of half-naked cowboys around up on stage. Kelly turned towards them and snarled. Was that hateful look justified?

Jade, in deep thoughts of her own, considered the brunette. It was still early in the night but… She pulled Tori into a hug that she simply sank into. Tori just buried herself into Goth, wanting everything else to go away. "We can leave now? Or we can stay and not give her the satisfaction of thinking she ruined your evening." Jade whispered into her ear.

"She didn't ruin it." Tori began. Jade tilted the brunette's chin until their gaze met. She arched a disagreeing brow. Tori blew out a breath that ended on a sad chuckle. "Well –not completely."

Jade just smiled. "Want to leave or make this evening better?"

"Better? How?"

"Do you trust me, Vega?" It was said so softly and so sincerely that Tori almost melted into a puddle at her feet.

"Yes…"

Jade's smirk grew as she whirled to face Harvey. "Okay," she told him.

"Okay?" He frowned bringing his beer to his lips.

"Okay, we'll perform tonight."

He choked on his drink, a little and flashed a hopeful grin when he caught himself. "You will? Great! I'm going to change the line-up. You're on next." He rambled on so fast and bolted before she had a chance to change her mind.

"What?" Tori looked shell-shocked.

"He said we're up next." Jade grinned, rubbing the back of her neck.

"Jade! How can we –" She sputtered, indicating at the stage. "This is original music. We don't have a song."

"The one we worked on together." Jade shrugged.

"That has no lyrics yet."

"It sort of does."

Tori was caught off guard with that response. Her eyes narrowed. "It sort of does?"

"Ah-huh…" Jade nodded nervously. "It was eating at me and the words kept coming to me at odd times. In school, in the shower, while I was eating breakfast. So I kind wrote them down and have them memorized."

She looked blankly at the Goth. "You made up lyrics for our song?"

"Your song." Jade corrected.

Tori sighed. "Jade, I consider it ours since we both worked on it."

Jade took Tori's hands in hers. "Then will you share these words with me? Up there, now?"

"I don't know them."

"You'll catch on. I promise. I won't go up there without you, Vega."

Tori stared down at their hands and then up into sincere blue eyes. Deep down, part of her wanted to be up there as much as she wanted to see the Goth up there. "Yes… Okay. I trust you, Jade."

"Good." Jade grinned and gave Harvey a thumbs up. He signaled to her with a grin of his own. Together they watched the half-naked cowboys drift off stage after their performance. "Ready?" She gave Tori's arm a light squeeze.

"If you are." Tori smiled as they made their way onto stage to setup.

Kelly rounded on them as they started to select their instruments. Jade threw the guitar strap over her shoulder as Tori settled herself at the piano, adjusting the mike. "What the hell do you two think you're doing?"

"Kelly, there's a change of plan!" Harvey shouted from his station. "The Red Jackets are going on after these two."

"What!" She yelled in disbelief. "You can't be serious!"

"As a heart attack, darling." He winked at Jade. "Now go see to the Red Jackets."

"But Harvey!" She whined.

The chief coordinator simply sighed. "Get the hell off my stage, Kelly, before I fire you!"

Sparing the two musicians a deadly glare, she stomped off the stage.

Tori inhaled a deep breath trying to center herself. She wouldn't think about Kelly right now. She looked at Jade poised over her own mike, her fingers running lightly over the strings of her guitar making sure it's in tune. Jade grinned at her and gave her a brief nod. She nodded back, her heart beating rapidly. Yet she knew it had nothing to do with nerves and everything to do with the woman up the about to bare her soul to the world. The woman she was in love with, she thought pensively.

Jade took the mike, her other hand on the pendent she always wore around her neck. She waited until the noises died down. "I wasn't supposed to be up here tonight." She began. "But sometimes you just gotta do what you love doing especially if it's just for a little fun. And what better way to do that than in front of drunken strangers that won't remember your name in the morning." She said with a cheeky grin eliciting a roar of chuckles from the lively crowd. "Anyway, my partner in crime over there and I collaborated this piece. So I hope you enjoy it." She looked into Tori's eyes and whispered into the mike. "This one is called; Is it so wrong."

Jade hovered over the mike as her eyes raked over the crowd. They returned to the brunette and she nodded. Slowly, very slowly sound drifted from the piano into the room note by note until it came alive –breathed. Soon, the acoustics joined in mating the music together until they were one and the same. People were already paired up, languidly, helplessly swaying to the melody. When the time was right, Jade's voice awakened.

A lost soul walking in the cold

Through the memories of a past life

With little of the future foretold

.

But I feel you there

Why, I don't know

But my chaotic mind is drawn to you

My sad eyes watching you go

.

Then you look at me

Your eyes pinning me down

I know I'm supposed to run

But all I do is drown

Tori felt her pulse thicken, every breath in her body frozen, yet as if enthralled her fingers continued to play –to dominate her very being. She succumbed every time she heard the raven haired woman sing. It was different this time though. It was about Jade. It was about her. It was about them. And she knew the moment she was apprehended with sapphire eyes, she was the one drowning in Jade's words…

Is it so wrong

To feel this for you

What's in my heart

That I can't help but do

Is it so wrong

To want you with me

To watch the world stop

And just let us be

.

Our separate lives walking us by

Is distanced by circumstance

Torments me to no sleep

Leaving me with a stolen glance

Of what could be

I try to relent

Though the spaces between us

Are the only things I repent

Jade couldn't take her eyes off Tori, burning a hole through her. Her voice was strong, powerful, each uttered verse tearing a piece of herself. The rest of the room ceased to exist. It was just them there, as she spilled her mind, heart and soul at the brunette's feet.

Is it so wrong

To feel this for you

What's in my heart

That I can't help but do

Is it so wrong

To want you with me

To watch the world stop

And just let us be

.

I know you feel it too

When we collide together

Control is almost lost

Dismissing all thoughts of never

Jade's eyes were shut as the music and words moved her, completely undone. Abruptly, it snapped open as Tori took the chorus this time. She couldn't help but grin at Tori who was smiling back, her voice echoing through the room, leaving many awed and in cheers. Not that they could hear anything so caught up in each other.

Is it so wrong

To feel this for you

What's in my heart

That I can't help but do

Is it so wrong

To want you with me

To watch the world stop

And just let us be

Together, their voices mingled creating magic that spread its mystical force through the land. Their hands still pouring their talent into the instruments they wielded.

Is it so wrong

To feel this for you

What's in my heart

That I can't help but do

Is it so wrong

To want you with me

To watch the world stop

And just let us be

Their instruments yielded and the music died down as Jade murmured the last few words bringing them back to the world.

Is it so wrong

Is it so wrong

To want you with me

To watch the world stop

And just let us be…

At the whispered end they both were panting lightly and grinning at each other. The crowd was hysterical, whistling and cheering at the two beautiful musical Goddesses. Jade tossed the guitar strap off her, setting the instrument down. The instant it hit the floor, she had an armful of the brunette tight against her.

Jade laughed in all the excitement and shouted against Tori's hair. "Want to leave now?"

Tori muffled an exuberant laugh into the Goth's shirt. "Oh yeah. I think we made our point and then some…"


Okay, so I'm just fidgeting with the next part, a little. But I should get it to you in a week's time.

Sooner if you like.

So let me know who likes… ;)

Review!

Side comment:

You know its comments like this that make me laugh my head off. "See you in a month, probably." It's so true! Loved that one! After I read that I sat there with an insanely gleeful expression and developed an evil plan. It was so so evil! Yeah, so evil!

I couldn't use it :/ Hey –contrary to popular belief even I'm not that evil.

So anyway I'd just like to point out I got it to you in less than a month, LP. (wink)